Dax Shepard to direct and star in CHiPs movie

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Deadline reports:

Warner Bros has set Dax Shepard to write, direct and star in a screen version of CHiPS, that TV series that ran from 1977-83 and featured two officers who patrolled the highways of California armed with motorcycles and the tightest khaki cop uniforms in television history. Shepard will play Officer Jon Baker (played in the original by Larry Wilcox), while Michael Pena is attached to play Frank “Ponch” Poncherello, the role Erik Estrada originated. Rick Rosner created the NBC series.

Here’s the iconic opening of the show:

Man charged with killing pregnant girlfriend; no charges yet in death of unborn child

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On June 20, Baltimore County Police responded to a home in the Rosedale area of Baltimore County after a 911 call from a resident who found her daughter severely injured. The victim, later identified as Summer Shemida Smith, was declared dead on the scene. Smith was 33 years old and lived at the home with her mother. Media reports indicated that her pregnancy was full-term. Her unborn child also died. After an autopsy the next day, police announced that Smith’s death was the result of homicide. At the time, police did not announce autopsy results for her unborn child.

Today, September 2, a report from The Baltimore Sun reports an arrest has been made:

Baltimore County police have charged a 32-year-old man with first-degree murder in the stabbing death of his pregnant girlfriend in June.

Kenneth Walter Worrell III of the 5800 block of Lillyan Avenue is alleged to have stabbed Summer Shemida Smith, 33, who was nine months pregnant. The Baltimore County State’s Attorney’s office is reviewing the case to see if additional homicide charges could be filed in the death of the unborn child.

The report indicates DNA via blood on a receipt dated 6/20 was found in Worrell’s car. Will prosecutors actually file charges for the death of the unborn child? Logic would indicate that they should  in light of Maryland’s fetal homicide laws since previous reports indicated the pregnancy was full-term.

Maryland has a fetal homicide law (§ 2-103) which says that a defendant can be prosecuted for manslaughter or murder if (via NCSL.org) the perpetrator “intended to cause the death of the viable fetus; intended to cause serious physical injury to the viable fetus; or wantonly or recklessly disregarded the likelihood that the person’s actions would cause the death of or serious physical injury to the viable fetus.”

Under Maryland law (§ 2-209), viable “means that stage when, in the best medical judgment of the attending physician based on the particular facts of the case before the physician, there is a reasonable likelihood of the fetus’s sustained survival outside the womb.”

Video shows apparent beheading of journalist Steven Sotloff

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WaPo:

A new video attributed to the Islamic State terrorist organization purports to show the beheading of U.S. journalist Steven Sotloff, marking the second such execution in recent weeks by an group that controls parts of Iraq and Syria and has threatened to kill other captives.

The video shows a bound Sotloff being held at knifepoint by a black-clad militant against a desert backdrop that appears similar to the one shown in a video released last month depicting the beheading of American journalist James Foley. The video was obtained by the SITE Intelligence Group, an organization that tracks the online postings of Islamist militant groups.

Sotloff, a freelance journalist, had written Time magazine, Foreign Policy and other publications. He was believed to have been taken captive shortly after entering Syria in 2013.

It will be interesting to see how long it takes the Obama administration to respond to this report in light of their response to the Foley beheading.

Drunk federal agent arrested for brandishing gun

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Associated Press:

Police say an apparently drunk man arrested after allegedly brandishing a gun on a Burbank street is a federal agent.

According to a police statement, officers responded early Wednesday after someone reported being approached by a very drunk man who pulled out a handgun. The armed man directed the victim to follow him.

The victim managed to run off and the armed suspect was found by police less than a mile away.

Police say Andrew Leconte was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping and brandishing a firearm.

Investigators later learned that Leconte is an agent with the United States Marshals Service.

The 27-year old was released on bond. The Marshals Service refused comment.

California illegally requiring employer insurance to cover elective abortions

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AP via Newsbusters:

Health insurance companies in California may not refuse to cover the cost of abortions, state insurance officials have ruled in a reversal of policy stemming from the decision by two Catholic universities to drop elective abortions from their employee health plans.

Although the federal Affordable Care Act does not compel employers to provide workers with health insurance that includes abortion coverage, the director of California’s Department of Managed Health Care said in a letter to seven insurance companies on Friday that the state Constitution and a 1975 state law prohibits them from selling group plans that exclude the procedure. The law in question requires such plans to encompass all “medically necessary” care.

“Abortion is a basic health care service,” department director Michelle Rouillard wrote in the letter. “All health plans must treat maternity services and legal abortion neutrally.”

Jesuit-run Santa Clara University and Loyola Marymount University notified employees last fall that they planned to stop paying for elective abortions, but said faculty and staff members could pay for supplemental coverage that would be provided through a third party. The two schools said their insurers, Anthem Blue Cross and Kaiser Permanente, had cleared the move with the state.

University employees who objected to the decision and abortion-rights groups lobbied the women’ caucus of the California Legislature, which in turn asked Gov. Jerry Brown to clarify and reverse the health care department’s determination.

Life Legal Defense Foundation, Alliance Defending Freedom, and the Cardinal Newman Society sent a letter to state officials reminding them that this mandate is illegal under federal law (the Weldon Amendment.)